Dipped Nails vs Gel Nails vs Acrylic – What Is Better?

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Dipped nails Vs Gel nails Vs acrylics

Dipped Nails vs Gel Nails vs Acrylic Nails- Nail Extension Comparison

Is there such a thing as non-damaging fake nails? Can traditional acrylic nails and gels damage our nails? And what is the least harmful method? Dipped nails Vs Gel Nails Vs Acrylic.

Can Traditional Acrylic Nails Cause Damage to My Nail Bed? 

Actually yes, there are several reasons applying traditional acrylic for a long period of time may cause real damage to your nail bed. You can see the damage once you remove the traditional acrylic extensions. Discoloration, infection, weak, chipped, brittle nails and even allergies can be the outcome of applying fake nails.

 Not flexible- traditional acrylics are very stiff unlike gel nails or dipped nails that have some flexibility to them. If the nail hits something hard it can cause trauma to the nail, and in severe cases, the nail can separate from the nail bed (ouch).

 Bacterial or fungal Infections- those may occur due to trauma or wrong application of the artificial nails. Bacterial infection usually occurs after trauma to the nail, bumping the nail can cause a gap between the nails that is where the bacteria can prosper. Read more: Best way to get rid of nail fungus fast

 Toxic Smell- some liquid monomers contain harsh chemicals such as MMA, which may damage your health. MMA may cause allergies and asthma.

 Harsh chemicals- There are types of traditional acrylics which contain dangerous substance formaldehyde and toluene. some may say toluene can cause some health problems, but it hasn’t been proven yet.

 Traditional acrylic nails Removal- the removal method of traditional acrylic nails is probably the longest. You should let your nails soak off in 100% acetone for 30-40 minutes. Let a professional do it, wrong way of removal can cause damage to your nails.

So, why do people use them anyway?

Traditional Acrylics are strong and durable, which means the manicure will last for a longer period of time. Gel nails, for example, are not as strong and durable and usually won’t last as long.

Tip: Acrylics contain Flammable ingredients so keep them away from curling irons, straighteners or dryers.

Can Gel Nails Harm My Nail Bed? 

In some cases, wrong gel nails removal can cause some damage to your nail bed. Some people try to peel the gel polish / hard gel extension while actually removing the top layer of the nail along with the gel nails.

Gel nails

 Harsh chemicals- Some of the Gel brands contain harsh chemicals such as BHA try to avoid using them.

Durability- Gel nails are not as durable as the traditional acrylics and dipped nails. Acrylics and dipped nails usually last about 3 weeks without chipping while gel nails will last for a shorter time period.

UV light- Gel nails need curing light such as UV/LED. Long exposure to UV light can damage your health. Use LED nail Lamps, the curing time is much faster than UV nail lamps, and the exposure time to the light is reduced.

Tip: When using the UV/LED nail lamp, apply some sun cream to your hands and put on special gloves to minimize exposure to the UV light. 

 Flexibility- Gel nails are not as stiff as the traditional acrylics, this is why Gel nails feel more natural than traditional acrylics.

 Gel nails Removal- You should let your nails soak off in 100% acetone for 10-15 minutes.

Related: How to apply and remove gel nails perfectly.

Why Are Dipped Nails the Best Nail Extension Method? 

Basically, dipped nails combine all the best in traditional acrylics and the best in gel nails. So, if we need to choose the best nail extension method this is actually our top winner at the Dipped Nails Vs Gel Nails Vs Acrylic comparison. Check our Best nail dipping system reviews.

 Odorless- when we are applying Dipped nails we do not use liquid monomer, this is why dipping systems are odorless and there is no toxic smell.

Durable and flexible- the awesome thing about dipped nails is that they are durable and strong as the traditional acrylics and flexible as the gel nails. This is why dipped nails usually lasting longer than gel nails and steel feels more natural than the traditional acrylic extensions. (read more about SNS NAILS)

Gentle to nail bed- some dipping systems actually do not use harsh chemicals and use vitamins to prevent nail damage. check the top best nail dipping brands and starter kits

No UV needed- dipped nails drying easily. It takes about two minutes to dry and there is no need in UV or LED light.  

Easy to use- one of the best things about dipped nails and dipping systems is how fast and easy it is to use and apply.

No sculptingwhen you apply traditional acrylics you need good technique and experience to sculpt the nail. When applying dipped nails, no sculpting is necessary, this is one of the reasons it is much easier.

Dipped nails Removal- dipped nails removal is so much faster than traditional acrylics removal. Your nails need to soak off in 100% acetone for 10-15 minutes.

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The Bottom Line – Dipped Nails Vs Gel Nails Vs Acrylics

Dipped Nails Vs Gel nails Vs Acrylic nails

Dipped nails are the best from both worlds. If you want a perfect manicure you can get it in no time. The nail dipping method is easy and fast and the results are great. Dipped nails are flexible yet durable and strong. No Odor, no sculpting, and no UV Led curing light is needed. The dipping powders come in a great variety of colors and no need in color nail polish.

If you liked this dipped nails Vs gel Nails Vs acrylic nail extension comparison please leave a comment and let us know


15 thoughts on “Dipped Nails vs Gel Nails vs Acrylic – What Is Better?”

  1. I had the dipping at a professional salon.
    It was thick and untidy by cuticle .. I’m a perfectionist. When they removed it, my fingers got burned , the skin went very dry and I exfoliated , can’t be good for skin. Nails would have been okay , if it wasn’t for the outside of the nailbed peeled my top layer of my nail of, I physical peeled it of, the only way. I didn’t enjoy the nails and removed at salon after 8 days

    • Hi Lee,
      Sorry to hear you had a bad experience at the salon. Dipping powders when applied correctly, shouldn’t be thick or untidy.
      Check our “Best nail dipping system reviews” article here: https://www.nailartgear.com/best-nail-dipping-system-reviews-dip-powder-nails/ we added some real dip powder manicure photos, so you can see how it should look.
      The trick is to use a bimmer brush and remove any access of dip powder left on the nails after every dip. Also, it is important to apply thin layers of base otherwise, like in your case the nail will look thick. I don’t know which kind of dip powders they were using or how much experience your nail tech has with nail dipping powders. An experienced nail tech should know how to remove dip powders without causing any damage to the client. Nail dipping powders are usually easy to remove, after removing the top layer the removal process is very similar to the way you remove gel polish.

      Thank you for your response,
      Nail Art Gear Team.

  2. Do dip nails require filing down the surface of the natural nail? I hate that. I would rather get a regular manicure but they never last beyond two days.

  3. How do I know what I am getting at the salon? I asked for gel nails but she brushed the top with a liquid and then dipped them in a powder. Then she painted them with gel polish. To remove them she used an electric round file. I worry that will damage my natural nail.

    • i have a feeling that was the dip powder… gel nails are done with polish and cured with a UV light, no electric round file or powder.

  4. I know people that have the dip done and when their nails weren’t long enough they put tips on the person. So not sure what that’s about.

    I know someone else who does the dip and love it. They hadn’t tried anything else and that’s why they stick with dip.

    They had their nails done and waited for their friend to get theirs done. They noticed the person didn’t change anything, used the same powder that was used for her. Neither went back to that salon but instead to another and watched their procedure and found that they change to a new setup with each person.

    I know someone who gets gel done as they have naturally long nails so the gel lasts longer for them and gives them just the right hardness needed that their nails have been fine, prior to getting gel they would tend to bend and split.

    I’ve been getting my nails done for a long time. My nails before getting them done are like razors, long, thin and can cut you without even trying. I have tried gel, once and didn’t like it. I do acrylics and have never had any issues with it. If I have a hangnail or a bumped cuticle although rare, I still wait to go in to get my nails done. While the salon I go to gives each person a new kit and puts your name on, I still don’t like taking any chances. My nails last for almost a month before I have to get them done. I’ve never had any issues with it damaging my nails in the slightest. I keep my nails at a nice length just slightly past my fingertips as that’s how I like them.

    Knowing all that I do, I can only recommend to check out any nail salon first before you get your nails done even your feet. Knowing is the best policy, if you don’t like what you see, ask or go somewhere else.

    • I used to get acrylics all the time years ago, and they always looked fabulous. I stopped getting my nails done when I had my daughter. 13 years later, and my nails still grow in wavy. I didn’t notice anything wrong while getting them done. It was years later that I saw the damage they caused. My nails literally grow like a wave is going down them. No matter what I do they grow that way. It’s from them filing my nails down before they applied the acrylic. I’d be careful with how long and how often you get them done. I promise you that even if you don’t see it now, you will see the damage down the line.

  5. I was going to a salon for “dip powder”. They use the same powder for everyone. I originally went as I heard the dip was so much better for your nails. I saw the same lady for several months. She would use the dip but cure under the uv light and always filed my nail bed with drill to remove when changing out dip from one appointment to the next. She destroyed my nail bed and told me my nails were always like this. I am no longer seeing her or going to that salon. And now after reading this am glad I made that choice.

  6. I had long strong nails and had them dipped, boy am I a dummy, the manager of the salon did my nails. She said was doing me a favor and did 3 layers of dip instead of 2, messed up 2 nails and they ended up getting five layers and were thicker than a dime, when i soaked them to remove in 30 days they still looked great, but that stuff ruined my nails. It has been over 2 months since removal and my poor nails, they still peel or just chip, they are brittle. Would never do that again, it sure taught me a valuable lesson.


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